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May 2014

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COMMENTS

Tommy John Epidemic, Big Contract Demands, & More!

Written by , Posted in General

Even with the NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing, there were more than enough big headlines from the MLB to grab some air time this week. Let’s get to it!

Young Pitching Stars Go Down

It seems like UCL tears are almost becoming an epidemic around pitching rotations throughout the MLB, as 18 pitchers have now had to undergo the infamous Tommy John surgery to correct it.

Two of the more notable names that will be forced to have the surgery have actually both been injured in the past week, and both are young pitchers that carried a lot of the burden for their respective teams. The first, Martin Perez, was off to a pretty good start for the Texas Rangers; a team who has struggled to find any consistent pitching this year.

The other, and probably more devastating, was that of the Miami Marlins ace youngster Jose Fernandez. Fernandez, who finished 3rd in Cy Young voting last year despite being just 20 years old started this season off on a tear (no pun intended) and continued to establish himself as one of the best pitchers in the game.

These two injuries have brought out just how prevalent Tommy John has become in the majors. The fact that pitchers are throwing harder and throwing all year round is thought to be the culprit behind this, and that especially concerns me since there’s no real way to combat that. Unfortunately, I think young pitchers have to just expect that they’re going to have to undergo this surgery at one point or another. Are there any ways that this increased need of Tommy John surgery can be slowed down?

Hanley Ramirez Lays Out Contract Demands

As one of the biggest free agents on the market this offseason, Hanley Ramirez had to have been happy with how the free agents from this past offseason got paid. Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo both received deals in excess of $130 million, and Robinson Cano hit the jackpot with his deal of over $200 million.

Out of all the hitters that will be on the open market, Ramirez clearly stands out among the rest. Players like Pablo Sandoval and Victor Martinez are both solid, but each present their own concerns that may weigh down the value of the contract that they ultimately receive.

It is also being reported that the Dodgers are not currently willing to meet the demands of Ramirez, who currently wants a contract similar to what Choo received at the very least. This surprised me, as I figured the Dodgers would spend any amount of money to retain him given that he’s one of the better players on the team.

After looking into it, though, I can’t really blame them for being hesitant. He’s currently 30 years old, so he probably only has a few more years of prime production ahead of him. On top of that, he’s also only played in 100 or more games in 1 of the last 3 seasons. Would you be willing to give Ramirez a 6-year, $130 million contract?

Tigers Get Hot

After being the laughingstock of the league throughout the late 1990’s and early 2000’s (and almost breaking the MLB record for losses in one season in 2003), the Detroit Tigers have regained some of the prestige that they had earned during their heyday in the 80’s.

They currently are the top team in the league as far as win percentage, and they’ve rattled off quite an impressive winning streak. They’ve done this with a combination of timely hitting and lock down pitching. The pitching, especially has stepped up this season, as they rank first in all of baseball in runs allowed.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers for Prince Fielder this offseason, has had a bit of a revival, and has helped with an issue the team was once crippled by: a lack of speed. Replacing Fielder in the cleanup spot was thought to be a tough task, but veteran Victor Martinez has been more than capable, and he’s shown more of a power stroke than he has at any point in his time in Detroit.

The starting pitching has been phenomenal, and that’s even without Anibal Sanchez for a couple of starts. Their bullpen may cause them some problems down the line, but so far I think it’s a safe bet that the Tigers are looking like the favorites to win it all this year. If the Tigers aren’t the current World Series favorites, which team is, and why?

This Week’s MVP: Yasiel Puig (.400/.483/1.000, 4 HR, 11 RBI)

This Week’s Cy Young: Cole Hamels (1-0, 1.29 ERA, 20 K)

  • Eddie Von White

    Don’t forget about the Tigers hey day in the 60’s with Denny McLain on the mound – beating Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals in the ’68 World Series, having won 31 games in the regular season with a 1.96 earned run average, and pitching 336 innings and 28 complete games before anyone had ever heard of Tommy John surgery.

    • Brian Rzeppa

      Things didn’t work out so well for McClain after two years in a row of 300+ innings, or in his post-playing career for that matter, haha. The Tigers as a whole have had quite a few successful stretches.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        McClain is the only Cy Young winner to be jailed for ERISA fraud. It is difficult to do either and he managed to do both.

      • Eddie Von White

        I’m not defending anything McLain did, but in context, his law-breaking was outside of baseball.

  • Eddie Von White

    Don’t forget about the Tigers hey day in the 60’s with Denny McLain on the mound – beating Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals in the ’68 World Series, having won 31 games in the regular season with a 1.96 earned run average, and pitching 336 innings and 28 complete games before anyone had ever heard of Tommy John surgery.

    • Brian Rzeppa

      Things didn’t work out so well for McClain after two years in a row of 300+ innings, or in his post-playing career for that matter, haha. The Tigers as a whole have had quite a few successful stretches.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        McClain is the only Cy Young winner to be jailed for ERISA fraud. It is difficult to do either and he managed to do both.

      • Eddie Von White

        I’m not defending anything McLain did, but in context, his law-breaking was outside of baseball.

  • Doc Raker

    How did Fergie Jenkins pitch so many innings for so many years.

    What is the difference between this era and the complete game era?

    1) Did pitchers burn out quicker creating higher roster turn over in the complete game era and the ones that stuck around were work horses, i.e. you where either a work horse or you didn’t stick around.

    2) Pitching now is more stressful on the arm due to the type of pitches being thrown?

    I tend to think #1 is possible. Clubs didn’t invest a lot in prospects back then, high turnover was not a financial burden. Now, with big contracts and big signing bonuses I think roster turnover is a financial burden making pitch counts and arm management prudent. But once you start limiting pitches you start limiting arm strength and you start limit the Fergie Jenkins of the game.

    • Chuck

      I am pretty sure they did not throw in the mid 90’s consistently back then. Also, ballparks were bigger then too. Remember when Wrigley was considered a hitters park? Now it is considered a pitchers park. Another major factor was that ballplayers did not undergo the same strength and conditioning programs that the modern hitter does today.

      In the era of the complete game pitcher the mound was higher, the park was bigger, the ball was softer, and the hitters were softer too. You could get away with throwing junk for 9 innings.

      • Doc Raker

        So you think pitchers threw softer, easier in the complete game era? I don’t know about that but it would be a good question for the pitchers of the complete game era.

        The mound was lowered in the early sixties and the complete game era went into the 70’s.

      • Chuck

        I guess when I think of the “complete game” era, I think of the 50s and earlier. The time when bringing in a relief pitcher was an insult to your manhood.

        It is tough to compare the pitch velocities of eras before the radar gun. Every pitcher thinks they were throwing 100 and the batters won’t disagree.

      • Doc Raker

        Yes, I would think it hard to compare without the radar gun. It’s a good research question. Jenkins would throw 25 complete games in a year in the 70’s. Bruce Sutter would also have 3 inning saves at times.

        I think I even asked Jenkins about this at camp in 2007 but he didn’t seem to know.

        Did they even have a bullpen in the 40’2 and 50’s?

    • PLCB3

      He was snorting lines of coke and calling lots of JOINT sessions.

  • Doc Raker

    How did Fergie Jenkins pitch so many innings for so many years.

    What is the difference between this era and the complete game era?

    1) Did pitchers burn out quicker creating higher roster turn over in the complete game era and the ones that stuck around were work horses, i.e. you where either a work horse or you didn’t stick around.

    2) Pitching now is more stressful on the arm due to the type of pitches being thrown?

    I tend to think #1 is possible. Clubs didn’t invest a lot in prospects back then, high turnover was not a financial burden. Now, with big contracts and big signing bonuses I think roster turnover is a financial burden making pitch counts and arm management prudent. But once you start limiting pitches you start limiting arm strength and you start limit the Fergie Jenkins of the game.

    • Chuck

      I am pretty sure they did not throw in the mid 90’s consistently back then. Also, ballparks were bigger then too. Remember when Wrigley was considered a hitters park? Now it is considered a pitchers park. Another major factor was that ballplayers did not undergo the same strength and conditioning programs that the modern hitter does today.

      In the era of the complete game pitcher the mound was higher, the park was bigger, the ball was softer, and the hitters were softer too. You could get away with throwing junk for 9 innings.

      • Doc Raker

        So you think pitchers threw softer, easier in the complete game era? I don’t know about that but it would be a good question for the pitchers of the complete game era.

        The mound was lowered in the early sixties and the complete game era went into the 70’s.

      • Chuck

        I guess when I think of the “complete game” era, I think of the 50s and earlier. The time when bringing in a relief pitcher was an insult to your manhood.

        It is tough to compare the pitch velocities of eras before the radar gun. Every pitcher thinks they were throwing 100 and the batters won’t disagree.

      • Doc Raker

        Yes, I would think it hard to compare without the radar gun. It’s a good research question. Jenkins would throw 25 complete games in a year in the 70’s. Bruce Sutter would also have 3 inning saves at times.

        I think I even asked Jenkins about this at camp in 2007 but he didn’t seem to know.

        Did they even have a bullpen in the 40’2 and 50’s?

    • AC0000000

      He was snorting lines of coke and calling lots of JOINT sessions.

  • Dusty_Baylor

    Another theory is that kids pitch too much cumulatively. Instead of pitching, adn throwing a lot from April-September, kids are playing year round in lots of states. Some travel kids I umpire for play 70-80 games a summer…that’s a lot of pitching. When I was a kid, we were lucky to play 20 games.

    • Doc Raker

      Probably right. Living in CA I know lots of kids who have been pitching year round for many years. My son is 13u and we are strafing to see burn out and arm issues with these kids. My son pitches but never year round, he plays hockey also which breaks up his baseball season.

      Where do you umpire? Where you the ump that blew that call yesterday on us?

    • PLCB3

      What about the restrictions on how much they can pitch? There were limits in my youth leagues on this.

      • Doc Raker

        In travel ball the limits are innings pitched, not number of pitches. You can throw a 1000 pitches in an inning and it’s still only 1 inning. Little League uses hard pitch counts and mandates days of rest depending on how many pitches are thrown.

        The other problem is kids will play on more than one team. They will pitch on Wednesday for their Little League team and on Saturday for their travel ball team.

      • PLCB3

        I like the little league limits better than travel ball limits. My little league had both. No more than 3 innings, and 5th graders had to pitch at least 2 innings per game. (5th grade-6th grade league). There were pitch count limits too.

      • PLCB3

        My youth league had rest limits as well. Do the leagues in your area have everyone plays rules? My league had them. 5th graders had to pitch at least 2 innings of a 6-inning game, everyone had to play at least 1 inning in the infield (pitcher and catcher counted), this way you can’t hide a weak fielder in the OF, and everyone had to sit out an inning before you could sit someone a 2nd time.

      • That sure is interesting.

      • PLCB3

        In what ways? This isn’t any political correctness/socialism bs if that’s what you’re implying. There are no tryouts or cuts for these leagues. These games aren’t going to have any impact on anyone’s lives. That championship winning hit and home run robbing catch I had didn’t give me any advantage in life.

      • I think our new readers would benefit from a recap of your Little League highlights. They probably have no idea what you are talking about…throw them a bone.

      • PLCB3

        What does that have to do with my previous post about the everyone plays rules?

      • It is all about context.

      • PLCB3

        I will explain that when I get to a computer, but I want to know what you meant by your comments about the everyone plays rules.

      • It was nothing in particular. I guess I just like hearing the specifics of youth baseball leagues I didn’t play in.

      • PLCB3

        Well I was asking Raker if his kids youth league had any everyone plays rules in addition to the pitch count limits.

      • PLCB3

        Ask and you shall receive.

        In my last year of playing youth league baseball, my team made the championship game. It was 4-4 in the top of the 6th inning (last inning). We had the bases loaded and 2 outs. I was at the plate. I forget the count, but I had 2 strikes on me. I foul tipped the ball, but the catcher dropped it, so I was still alive. Later in the at-bat, I ripped a double down the left field line (the only extra-base hit I had in 3 years of Little League), clearing the bases, I took 3rd on the throw home, and scored on an errant throw when the catcher tried to nail me at 3rd. Next batter grounded out to end the inning. Bottom of the 6th, the other team loaded the bases with 2 outs and had their best hitter up. He hits a towering fly ball towards me. I wasn’t able to rob him of the grand slam, but I prevented the ball from going over the wall, and we threw him out at home to win the championship game 8-7.

        13 years later, that means nothing. I don’t go to job interviews saying I should be hired because I won the Little League championship for my team 13 years ago. That isn’t going to get me a job. No one is going to say we’re not giving you the job because you struck out and dropped the ball which allowed the championship winning HR. That is what I was getting at.

  • Dusty_Baylor

    Another theory is that kids pitch too much cumulatively. Instead of pitching, adn throwing a lot from April-September, kids are playing year round in lots of states. Some travel kids I umpire for play 70-80 games a summer…that’s a lot of pitching. When I was a kid, we were lucky to play 20 games.

    • Doc Raker

      Probably right. Living in CA I know lots of kids who have been pitching year round for many years. My son is 13u and we are strafing to see burn out and arm issues with these kids. My son pitches but never year round, he plays hockey also which breaks up his baseball season.

      Where do you umpire? Where you the ump that blew that call yesterday on us?

    • AC0000000

      What about the restrictions on how much they can pitch? There were limits in my youth leagues on this.

      • Doc Raker

        In travel ball the limits are innings pitched, not number of pitches. You can throw a 1000 pitches in an inning and it’s still only 1 inning. Little League uses hard pitch counts and mandates days of rest depending on how many pitches are thrown.

        The other problem is kids will play on more than one team. They will pitch on Wednesday for their Little League team and on Saturday for their travel ball team.

      • AC0000000

        I like the little league limits better than travel ball limits. My little league had both. No more than 3 innings, and 5th graders had to pitch at least 2 innings per game. (5th grade-6th grade league). There were pitch count limits too.

      • AC0000000

        My youth league had rest mandates as well. Do the leagues in your area have everyone plays rules? My league had them. 5th graders had to pitch at least 2 innings of a 6-inning game, everyone had to play at least 1 inning in the infield (pitcher and catcher counted), this way you can’t hide a weak fielder in the OF, and everyone had to sit out an inning before you could sit someone a 2nd time.

      • That sure is interesting.

      • AC0000000

        In what ways? This isn’t any political correctness/socialism bs if that’s what you’re implying. There are no tryouts or cuts for these leagues. These games aren’t going to have any impact on anyone’s lives. That championship winning hit and home run robbing catch I had didn’t give me any advantage in life. I’d still be where I’m at had I struck out or dropped that ball.

      • I think our new readers would benefit from a recap of your Little League highlights. They probably have no idea what you are talking about…throw them a bone.

      • AC0000000

        What does that have to do with my previous post about the everyone plays rules?

      • It is all about context.

      • AC0000000

        I will explain that when I get to a computer, but I want to know what you meant by your comments about the everyone plays rules. The part after no cuts/tryouts was me going off on a tangent and was irrelevant to the everyone plays rules.

      • It was nothing in particular. I guess I just like hearing the specifics of youth baseball leagues I didn’t play in.

      • AC0000000

        Well I was asking Raker if his kids youth league had any everyone plays rules in addition to the pitch count limits.

      • AC0000000

        Ask and you shall receive.

        In my last year of playing youth league baseball, my team made the championship game. It was 4-4 in the top of the 6th inning (last inning). We had the bases loaded and 2 outs. I was at the plate. I forget the count, but I had 2 strikes on me. I foul tipped the ball, but the catcher dropped it, so I was still alive. Later in the at-bat, I ripped a double down the left field line (the only extra-base hit I had in 3 years of Little League), clearing the bases, I took 3rd on the throw home, and scored on an errant throw when the catcher tried to nail me at 3rd. Next batter grounded out to end the inning. Bottom of the 6th, the other team loaded the bases with 2 outs and had their best hitter up. He hits a towering fly ball towards me. I wasn’t able to rob him of the grand slam, but I prevented the ball from going over the wall, and we threw him out at home to win the championship game 8-7.

        13 years later, that means nothing. I don’t go to job interviews saying I should be hired because I won the Little League championship for my team 13 years ago. That isn’t going to get me a job. No one is going to say we’re not giving you the job because you struck out and dropped the ball which allowed the championship winning HR. That is what I was getting at.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I believe that the whole pitch count thing is still evolving. I believe that there are good reasons for pitch counts, but that there still needs to be more research, because what Fergie, Gibson and McClain did was accutually accomplished and some ambitious researcher will discover how to determine the Fergies versus the Priors of the world. Then the complete game will make a come back.

    • Chuck

      It is entirely possible that they were just physiological freaks of nature. Kind of how Secretariat had a bigger heart than the typical horse.

      A lot of pitcher injuries can be chalked up to the fact that throwing a baseball overhand at 90 mph is an extremely unnatural motion and stuff happens. To me, every pitcher’s arm is a ticking time bomb.

      • Eddie Von White

        In my not so humble opinion, I think Tommy John surgery has become a form of preventative maintenance. At the first sign of a pitcher showing a strain or a weakness the team decides to announce the surgery and set the player aside for a year as a sure investment into the future, rather than take a chance.

      • Brian Rzeppa

        I would have to agree here. There’s only so many times that the arm can make that motion at that velocity before giving out.

    • Doc Raker

      Or like what the Texas Rangers are doing, no pitch counts in the minor leagues. That will weed out the fragile from the work horses before anyone is handed out big contracts. I like Nolan Ryan’s approach in Texas.

    • PLCB3

      Or it could be mechanics. Prior had the inverted W motion, which is going to cause problems no matter what.

      • Chuck

        Come on! Prior had impeccable mechanics. Everyone said so.

      • Doc Raker

        Everyone did say so, that was the talk- “he has great mechanics so he shouldn’t break down.” Shows you just how much the experts don’t know. The experts probably didn’t know about Prior’s pharmaceutical regimen while at USC either.

      • PLCB3

        Why do you think Prior was doping? Do you think Pujols is/was doping? I think he is.

      • Doc Raker

        I think doping was rampant and wide spread. Pitchers worked their legs. Anyone who has mysterious repeating injuries is a suspect in my book. Remember Prior’s first injury, Achilles tendinitis? They said he got tendinitis from walking around in flip flops all off season. I don’t buy it. If your calf muscle is to big for your Achilles you can get tendinitis, that’s not a natural injury for a 22 year old.

      • PLCB3

        IIRC, Prior’s injury first came up in 2003, but was kept quiet due to the playoff run etc. What is your opinion of Pujols in particular?

      • PLCB3

        I think Pujols is doping because his elbow has needed Tommy John for 10 years.

      • PLCB3

        Several of Prior’s injuries were isolated incidents. The DL stint in 2002 came from running the bases, 2003 was a collision, 2005 was a line drive off his elbow, that hit him so hard that Ramirez caught it 20 feet into foul territory deep in the hole at 3rd.

    • PLCB3

      Or pitchers could get back on the monkey testosterone:
      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5314753

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I believe that the whole pitch count thing is still evolving. I believe that there are good reasons for pitch counts, but that there still needs to be more research, because what Fergie, Gibson and McClain did was accutually accomplished and some ambitious researcher will discover how to determine the Fergies versus the Priors of the world. Then the complete game will make a come back.

    • Chuck

      It is entirely possible that they were just physiological freaks of nature. Kind of how Secretariat had a bigger heart than the typical horse.

      A lot of pitcher injuries can be chalked up to the fact that throwing a baseball overhand at 90 mph is an extremely unnatural motion and stuff happens. To me, every pitcher’s arm is a ticking time bomb.

      • Eddie Von White

        In my not so humble opinion, I think Tommy John surgery has become a form of preventative maintenance. At the first sign of a pitcher showing a strain or a weakness the team decides to announce the surgery and set the player aside for a year as a sure investment into the future, rather than take a chance.

      • Brian Rzeppa

        I would have to agree here. There’s only so many times that the arm can make that motion at that velocity before giving out.

    • Doc Raker

      Or like what the Texas Rangers are doing, no pitch counts in the minor leagues. That will weed out the fragile from the work horses before anyone is handed out big contracts. I like Nolan Ryan’s approach in Texas.

    • AC0000000

      Or it could be mechanics. Prior had the inverted W motion, which is going to cause problems no matter what.

      • Chuck

        Come on! Prior had impeccable mechanics. Everyone said so.

      • Doc Raker

        Everyone did say so, that was the talk- “he has great mechanics so he shouldn’t break down.” Shows you just how much the experts don’t know. The experts probably didn’t know about Prior’s pharmaceutical regimen while at USC either.

      • AC0000000

        Why do you think Prior was doping? Do you think Pujols is/was doping? I think he is.

      • Doc Raker

        I think doping was rampant and wide spread. Pitchers worked their legs. Anyone who has mysterious repeating injuries is a suspect in my book. Remember Prior’s first injury, Achilles tendinitis? They said he got tendinitis from walking around in flip flops all off season. I don’t buy it. If your calf muscle is to big for your Achilles you can get tendinitis, that’s not a natural injury for a 22 year old.

      • AC0000000

        IIRC, Prior’s injury first came up in 2003, but was kept quiet due to the playoff run etc. What is your opinion of Pujols in particular?

      • AC0000000

        I think Pujols is doping because his elbow has needed Tommy John for 10 years.

      • AC0000000

        Several of Prior’s injuries were isolated incidents. The DL stint in 2002 came from running the bases, 2003 was a collision, 2005 was a line drive off his elbow, that hit him so hard that Ramirez caught it 20 feet into foul territory deep in the hole at 3rd.

    • AC0000000

      Or pitchers could get back on the monkey testosterone:
      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5314753

  • Chuck

    Interesting fact: Rizzo has approximately 25% of the team’s walks so far this season.

  • Chuck

    Interesting fact: Rizzo has approximately 25% of the team’s walks so far this season.

  • PLCB3

    I agree with the overuse of pitchers as kids, but do you think the fact that kids are focusing on one sport only at younger and younger ages plays a role too?

    • Brian Rzeppa

      I would say so. I think it’s definitely recommended that kids play more than one sport.

    • Doc Raker

      Yes, kids become one sport athletes way to soon. My son plays hockey and baseball and he will be 14 in July. 90% of his baseball buddies play just baseball, 90% of his hockey buddies play just hockey and it has been this way since he was 8 or 9.

      When you play one sport from such a young age you don’t develop all of your muscles evenly and you can be prone to injuries in your teenage years.

      Also, young pitchers will have Tommy John surgery as maintenance or ‘to get it out of the way”. As in, I have more value as a pitcher who already had the surgery.

      • PLCB3

        You’re saying kids are getting it done without the ligament being torn? How does that contribute to an increase in injuries?

      • Chuck

        That is the parents fault. My kids play baseball in the Spring/Summer (Fall ball too, but that is very relaxed), football in the Fall, and basketball in the Winter. They usually take a month or so off as we transition from baseball to football so they can relax.

        So far this has not had any negative impact on their athletic career. They all play with their peers and start on the respective teams (except basketball where not being freakishly tall is a real disadvantage). My oldest will probably “play up” again this year and play both JV and Freshmen baseball.

        The only way i would one-sport one of my kids is if they sprouted to 6’9″ or taller. Then it would be basketball all the time and a serious talk with my wife about infidelity.

      • Doc Raker

        Ha- I agree. Does the high school baseball team in your parts want a year round commitment? The high school teams in SoCal seem to want one, maybe not officially but they are always doing summer camps, tournaments, fall games etc.

      • Chuck

        One of the benefits of a smaller school district is that they do want a year-long commitment, but it is to all the sports the school offers. Basically, they want their athletes to be active year-long and in weight-training programs starting in 7th grade. For example, my son was strongly encouraged to run track to stay in shape between basketball and baseball (we play Summer baseball here due to permafrost in early Spring) and football players are encouraged to play basketball even if they are no good at it.

        It is more of a well-rounded athlete type system. However, in the larger school districts around here they are encouraged to specialize in High School.

      • PLCB3

        My HS gave an award to any student who played a sport all 3 season all 4 years and it was in fact encouraged. The only sport I did was swimming though. I swam in the fall and spring. But I also was lifting weights when I didn’t swim. The football players, most of them did wrestling and track. A lot of water polo players swam to get into shape for polo. And a lot of the kids who did cross country and track swam in the winter or did wrestling to keep in shape in between.

      • Doc Raker

        I like the well rounded way. Where are you with permafrost?

      • Chuck

        Iowa is mighty cold before June. It was almost cold enough to snow here a couple of weeks ago.

      • PLCB3

        Hmmm maybe this is something else I should force on my kids. They can play whatever sports they want except football and hockey, and swimming is the only mandatory sport. But they must take part in 2 sports.

      • Chuck

        Just to be clear, I do not force my kids to play any sport. The older ones have a choice between playing sports through the school or getting a job during the summer. They all like playing sports and it gives them good structured activities to participate in. I do NOT want them hanging around in the neighborhood all the time up to no good.

        Before every sport season begins, I talk with them to make sure that they still want to do it and they are having fun.

      • PLCB3

        I thought about what I wrote earlier, and I realize I mistyped what I meant to say. My kids will be allowed to play whatever sports they want except football and hockey because of concussions etc. Swimming will be the only sport that is mandatory because water safety is so important. After 2 years on a swim team, if they don’t want to swim anymore, fine. At that point, you have fully developed swimming technique, etc to the point of being able to swim safely. The 2 sports thing came in regards to not developing all muscles by being a 1 sport player before age 10.

      • Doc Raker

        Hockey is a good sport, my son loves it. No concussions as of yet.

      • PLCB3

        But we are seeing some retired players with a lot of head issues and some players killing themselves in their 40s.

      • PLCB3

        I would have to do more research on hockey, but football is an absolute no.

  • AC0000000

    I agree with the overuse of pitchers as kids, but do you think the fact that kids are focusing on one sport only at younger and younger ages plays a role too?

    • Brian Rzeppa

      I would say so. I think it’s definitely recommended that kids play more than one sport.

    • Doc Raker

      Yes, kids become one sport athletes way to soon. My son plays hockey and baseball and he will be 14 in July. 90% of his baseball buddies play just baseball, 90% of his hockey buddies play just hockey and it has been this way since he was 8 or 9.

      When you play one sport from such a young age you don’t develop all of your muscles evenly and you can be prone to injuries in your teenage years.

      Also, young pitchers will have Tommy John surgery as maintenance or ‘to get it out of the way”. As in, I have more value as a pitcher who already had the surgery.

      • AC0000000

        You’re saying kids are getting it done without the ligament being torn? How does that contribute to an increase in injuries?

      • Chuck

        That is the parents fault. My kids play baseball in the Spring/Summer (Fall ball too, but that is very relaxed), football in the Fall, and basketball in the Winter. They usually take a month or so off as we transition from baseball to football so they can relax.

        So far this has not had any negative impact on their athletic career. They all play with their peers and start on the respective teams (except basketball where not being freakishly tall is a real disadvantage). My oldest will probably “play up” again this year and play both JV and Freshmen baseball.

        The only way i would one-sport one of my kids is if they sprouted to 6’9″ or taller. Then it would be basketball all the time and a serious talk with my wife about infidelity.

      • Doc Raker

        Ha- I agree. Does the high school baseball team in your parts want a year round commitment? The high school teams in SoCal seem to want one, maybe not officially but they are always doing summer camps, tournaments, fall games etc.

      • Chuck

        One of the benefits of a smaller school district is that they do want a year-long commitment, but it is to all the sports the school offers. Basically, they want their athletes to be active year-long and in weight-training programs starting in 7th grade. For example, my son was strongly encouraged to run track to stay in shape between basketball and baseball (we play Summer baseball here due to permafrost in early Spring) and football players are encouraged to play basketball even if they are no good at it.

        It is more of a well-rounded athlete type system. However, in the larger school districts around here they are encouraged to specialize in High School.

      • AC0000000

        My HS gave an award to any student who played a sport all 3 season all 4 years and it was in fact encouraged. The only sport I did was swimming though. I swam in the fall and spring. But I also was lifting weights when I didn’t swim. The football players, most of them did wrestling and track. A lot of water polo players swam to get into shape for polo. And a lot of the kids who did cross country and track swam in the winter or did wrestling to keep in shape in between.

      • Doc Raker

        I like the well rounded way. Where are you with permafrost?

      • Chuck

        Iowa is mighty cold before June. It was almost cold enough to snow here a couple of weeks ago.

      • AC0000000

        Hmmm maybe this is something else I should force on my kids. They can play whatever sports they want except football and hockey, and swimming is the only mandatory sport. But they must take part in 2 sports.

      • Chuck

        Just to be clear, I do not force my kids to play any sport. The older ones have a choice between playing sports through the school or getting a job during the summer. They all like playing sports and it gives them good structured activities to participate in. I do NOT want them hanging around in the neighborhood all the time up to no good.

        Before every sport season begins, I talk with them to make sure that they still want to do it and they are having fun.

      • AC0000000

        I thought about what I wrote earlier, and I realize I mistyped what I meant to say. My kids will be allowed to play whatever sports they want except football and hockey because of concussions etc. Swimming will be the only sport that is mandatory because water safety is so important. After 2 years on a swim team, if they don’t want to swim anymore, fine. At that point, you have fully developed swimming technique, etc to the point of being able to swim safely. The 2 sports thing came in regards to not developing all muscles by being a 1 sport player before age 10.

      • Doc Raker

        Hockey is a good sport, my son loves it. No concussions as of yet.

      • AC0000000

        But we are seeing some retired players with a lot of head issues and some players killing themselves in their 40s.

      • AC0000000

        I would have to do more research on hockey, but football is an absolute no.

  • PLCB3

    Tubby Veggy is out for the season with a neck problem.

  • AC0000000

    Tubby Veggy is out for the season with a neck problem.